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Home Services S.C. Citizens with Disabilities BARD: Braille and Audio Reading Download BARD Frequently Asked Questions
  1. What are BARD and BARD Mobile?

    BARD stands for Braille and Audio Reading Download. BARD is a downloading service offered by the National Library Service. It allows registered users of the Talking Books program to download audio and Braille books to a home computer and then listen to them on an authorized Talking Books player or send them to a Braille display. BARD Mobile is a free app for iOS mobile devices to allow registered BARD users to download NLS audio and Braille books to their mobile devices for use.

  2. Who is eligible to use BARD and BARD Mobile?

    In South Carolina, registered users of the South Carolina Talking Books Services in good standing may use BARD. BARD is offered in every state by that state's Talking Books library. If you live in another state, contact your library for more information. BARD Mobile can be used by registered BARD users.

  3. What materials are available on BARD and BARD Mobile?

    Best-selling fiction and non-fiction books for adults, young adults and children in audio format are available. A large selection of national magazines is available, as well. BARD and Bard Mobile do NOT provide textbooks.

  4. Do I need computer skills to use BARD or BARD Mobile?

    There are computer skills that users must have in order to use BARD, including: navigating a web page using a web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc) and locating and clicking on links in a web browser ; sending and receiving email, and filling out online forms ; remembering and using a personal username and password; downloading files and locating a downloaded file on your computer ; creating new folders and copying and pasting files; extracting files from a zipped format; connecting and removing a cartridge or USB flash drive and erasing files from a cartridge (or USB flash drive) or computer. To use BARD Mobile users must have a good working knowledge of their own personal iOS devices.

  5. Can someone else download the books for me if I do not have computer skills?


  6. Is there a user guide I can consult for using BARD?

    Yes. Visit BARD Instructions.

  7. Is there a user guide I can consult for using BARD Mobile?

    Yes. Visit BARD Mobile User Guide.

  8. Where do I go to register for BARD and BARD Mobile?

    Visit the BARD website. Click on the link to BARD Application Instructions. On the next page there are links for Individual and Institutional BARD applications. Choose the one that is appropriate for you. (Institutions are educational and medical facilities that are registered with TBS). Fill out the short online registration form completely then click "Submit." An email will be sent you informing you whether you application has been accepted or rejected. BARD is only open to registered members of the Talking Books Services.

    BARD Mobile users are already registered if they have successfully registered with BARD. They only need to login to their existing BARD account using their mobile iOS device.

  9. Where do I go to get the BARD Mobile app?

    You can find the app in the app store from Apple.

    You need an active iTunes account in order to download the app to your device.

  10. Does the app cost anything?

    No, the app is free.

  11. I have applied for BARD and been rejected. What is wrong?

    There are several reasons why a BARD application may be rejected. An email will be sent to you with a comment letting you know why your application has been rejected.

  12. Do you keep track of my BARD password?

    No, we do not keep track of it nor do we have any way to access it. It is the users' responsibility to keep track of their password. If you cannot remember your password or log in, we can reset your password to a temporary one for you. You can then log into BARD using the temporary password and reset it to a new one.

  13. Why do I need to provide a valid email address when I apply?

    First, your email address becomes your BARD username when you are approved. Second, your temporary password is emailed to you when you register for BARD and you must be able to access it. Third, if you need to reset your password at any time, the new temporary password is emailed to you. Fourth, we need to be able to keep in touch with you via email concerning your account and BARD.

  14. What equipment do I need to use BARD?

    Downloading books from the BARD website requires the following: an NLS digital player or an authorized purchased player; an up-to-date computer with high-speed internet service; an active, valid email address; a purchased blank cartridge or USB flash drive (recommended minimum 4GB & maximum 8GB).

  15. What equipment do I need to use BARD Mobile?

    At present, BARD Mobile is designed to work on iOS devices- iPods, iPads, and iPhones. Connectivity from a wireless carrier or a Wi-Fi provider is required to download material from BARD. BARD Mobile will work on any iOS device running iOS 4.3.3 or later. This includes the iPhone 3GS and all later iPhones, all iPads, and fourth generation or later iPod touches.

  16. What devices can be used to play downloaded books?

    At present the following devices are the only ones authorized to play NLS downloaded books. In addition to the NLS Digital Talking Book player, other players are: APH Book Port Plus; APH Braille Plus Mobile Manager; Apex BrailleNote/VoiceNote; HIMS BookSense; HIMS BookSense DS; HIMS BookSense XT; HIMS Sense Notetaker; Humanware Victor Reader Stratus; Humanware Victor Reader Stream; LevelStar Icon; Milestone 212; Milestone 312; PLEXTALK PTN2; and PLEXTALK Pocket PTP. BARD Mobile will work on any iOS device running iOS 4.3.3 or later.

  17. Why do I need to use one of these authorized players?

    In accordance with federal copyright laws, talking books must be provided in a specialized format that cannot be reproduced and used by the general public. These specialized recordings and players are loaned only to registered patrons.

  18. Can I have more than one player?

    Yes. In addition to the provided NLS player sent by us, you may buy any number of purchased players you want. We do not purchase or provide these for you. The NLS digital player that TBS provides you is on loan to you and is library property. See Question 9 as to which players are compatible.

  19. What players or devices will Talking Books Services provide me with?

    TBS will provide their patrons with an NLS Talking Books digital player. We do not provide any outside manufacturers players or devices to our patrons, although use of personal authorized players and devices is allowed.

  20. I am a registered BARD user and I've downloaded a book but it won't play on my additional player. I get a message that says I am not authorized to listen to the book.

    You must add the player to your BARD account before it can be authorized to play BARD books. Log on to your BARD account. On the "BARD Main Page," scroll down to "Additional Links" then click on the "Update Account" settings link. On the "Update Account Settings" page click on the link to add an additional player. The next page is the "Purchased Players" page. It will display your email, name, and address. At the bottom it says: "Please select the type of player you will be using." There is a drop down box to the right of this. If you click on the down arrow at the right of the box, it pops up a menu of different players. Left click on the one you want then click on the "Submit Player Request" button.

  21. I already own an e-reader or MP3 player. Can I use these to play Talking Books?

    The BARD Mobile app is compatible with iOS devices- iPods, iPads, and iPhones. BARD Mobile will work on any iOS device running iOS 4.3.3 or later. This includes the iPhone 3GS and all later iPhones, all iPads, and fourth generation or later iPod touches. Books downloaded via computer from BARD must be played on an authorized player.

  22. Do I have to add my iOS mobile device to my BARD account in order to use the BARD app?

    No. Once you login into the BARD app using your registered BARD login information BARD will recognize your account and let you use your iOS device to download books.

  23. Can I use both my NLS digital player and my mobile device to download books?


  24. I am having trouble with an NLS provided digital player. What can I do?

    Contact Talking Books Services at 1-800-922-7818 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

  25. I am having trouble with a purchased player. What can I do?

    Contact the player's manufacturer for information concerning it.

  26. What is a USB thumb drive?

    A USB thumb drive is a portable data storage device. It is also called a flash drive, jump drive or a pin drive.

  27. Is there any particular type of USB thumb drive I should use?

    A drive that is solid, and does not slide into its casing is recommended. BARD users have reported problems with some SanDisk USB thumb drives that have U3 software on them. We do not recommend using these. Also, we recommend that users do not use a drive with a capacity greater than 8 GB. USB thumb drives can be bought at any online or retail store that sells electronics.

  28. How many books will fit on a USB thumb drive?

    It depends on the capacity of the USB thumb drive and the size of the book files.

  29. How many books can I download?

    BARD users can download whatever number of books they want. However, there is usually a limit of how many books you can download at a time depending on the speed of your internet or wireless connection.

  30. When I put the USB thumb drive in side it sticks out. Can you send me something to fix that?

    Yes, we can send you a USB adapter which will allow the USB thumb drive to lie up against the side of the player. Contact TBS to ask for one.

  31. Where can I get an NLS cable and blank cartridges?

    These can be bought through outside suppliers. Here are some links:

    You MUST purchase a USB cable to use with these cartridges. However, you only need one cable.

  32. Do I have to use both a NLS cartridge AND a thumb drive?

    No, you may use one or the other.

  33. How does the book file get from my computer to the player?

    The file is copied from your computer to the storage media that your player will be using. This can be an NLS cartridge, a USB thumb drive or a specific media card (SD, XD, etc).

  34. How do I access the books on my USB thumb drive once I've downloaded them?

    Turn on the power to your player and insert the USB thumb drive into the USB port on the right side of the machine (to the right of the headphone jack). It may be covered with a small piece of black plastic, so pop this off. When the drive is in, press and hold down the green Play/ Stop button. You will hear the narrator's voice say "Bookshelf." Take your finger of the green button once he says this. Then, press the Fast Forward (Right Arrow) button until you get to the title of the book you want to listen to. Then press the green button once again to play the book.

  35. Am I automatically signed up for BARD because I am a Talking Books user?

    No, you must apply to use BARD. Visit the BARD website and click on the link for "BARD Application Instructions."

  36. Do I have to use BARD in order to get books from Talking Books Services?

    No. You can still get books sent through the mail as always by contacting Talking Books Services. Use of BARD is in addition to the traditional service provided by TBS.

  37. Do I have to order books from TBS in order to use BARD?

    No. Your BARD books ARE the books you are receiving. They count on your records as checked out and returned books. The same counts for books downloaded through BARD Mobile. We also keep track of the books you have downloaded, for your reference. You can, of course, still get books by contacting Talking Books Services.

  38. Does my BARD account expire?

    As long as you download at least one book or magazine per year, your BARD account will stay active for as long as you wish to use Talking Books. If your TBS account is suspended for any reason your BARD account will also be suspended.

  39. If I move to another state, can I still use South Carolina BARD?

    When you become the permanent resident of another state you need to become a patron of their Talking Books library and use their BARD. If you move, we can transfer your TBS service AND your BARD service to your new home state. Contact South Carolina Talking Books Services to implement your transfer.

  40. I'm moving to South Carolina from another state. Can I bring my BARD service with me?

    Yes, just ask your state to transfer your Talking Books and BARD service to South Carolina. When you transfer, be sure to provide your new address, phone number and email address.

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